Married filing jointly vs married filing separately
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New Member

Married filing jointly vs married filing separately

Is there an easy way to compare this in tubotax online?
2 Replies
Level 15

Married filing jointly vs married filing separately

It is not easy to compare MFJ to MFS using online TT but you can do it.  Since you only get one return for each account and user ID, you have to use 3 accounts and user ID’s—one for MFJ and two for each of the MFS returns.  Compare, choose, and file—and pay—accordingly.

It is much easier to do this comparison using the desktop version of TT installed from a CD or downloaded to your own computer.  You pay once for the software and you can prepare multiple returns easily, and it has a “what if” feature that allows comparisons.

Married Filing Jointly is usually better, even if one spouse had little or no income. When you file a joint return, you and your spouse will each receive the $4050 personal exemption, plus the married filing jointly standard deduction of $12,600 (add $1250 for each spouse over the age of 65).  You are eligible for more credits including education credits, earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, and a larger income limit to receive the child tax credit. 

If you choose to file married filing separately, both spouses have to file the same way—either you both itemize or you both use standard deduction. Your tax rate will be higher than on a joint return. Some of the special rules for filing separately include: you cannot get earned income credit, education credits, or deductions for student loan interest. A higher percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxable.  In many cases you will not be able to take the child and dependent care credit.  If you live in a community property state, you will be required to provide additional information regarding your spouse’s income.  If you are using online TurboTax to prepare your returns, you will need to prepare two separate returns and pay twice.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
New Member

Married filing jointly vs married filing separately

Who ever files first, then the other has to file the same way, when you file separately. And in SC at least, I was able to claim my children the one year we filed married filing separately. I chose to file as head of household every year after. If you provide more than half of the support and your children live with you for more than 6 months of the tax year, and you do not live together, you can claim HOH.
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